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With ominous dark clouds and rain, and possibly thunderstorms forecast, we began today’s adventure. We had a practical stop at Brieviesca to firstly top-up with some water at their incomplete aire. The lack of a tap head there was overcome by a pair of pliers, as the rain came down round my ears. Next, having used a new Spanish-specific app called GasAll, that has live fuel prices, I found a garage in the town with bargain diesel.
Main feature of the day was to be the small mountain town of Frías. Our researcher had found this a few days ago, and it seemed worth a detour. Conscious of the mountain range that would need negotiating, and the SatNav’s insistence on the most direct, and impractical route, I overruled and chose the N232, the N629, then the BU530, so as to be able to enjoy a stress-free drive.
It was not only stress-free and very motorhome-friendly, but the scenery was spectacular and very highly recommended. At Frías, we initially parked at the Park4night picnic area, next to the attractive medieval bridge, which, with room allegedly for 30 motorhomes, would have made an ideal overnight spot.
After a simple onboard lunch, we drove up to the town’s main carpark. At its entrance it has the standard sign for a motorhome discharging, mentions a word that looks like “sanitation”, and pointing away from the carpark. As we were only looking to park and not use any facilities (I understand there is a paying aire), we decided that the general carpark would do us fine. They did have some larger spaces, incidentally, but I couldn’t tell you how busy this would be with coaches etc in high season. Alternatively, there’s actually a direct walking route from the medieval bridge, which isn’t too far at all.
From here we took the steep steps up to the high part of the town, which we explored with the usual thoroughness demanded by our photographer. Frías is, without doubt, a must-see town due to both its location, perched precariously on a hill, but also because it is very attractive anyway, and it’s castle balancing impossibly over it is an amazing sight.
Heavy rain threatened throughout the visit, but fortunately the heavens only opened once we’d made it back to the van. From here on I wasn’t too sure what the roads would be like. On my map, red means a big road, yellow means a sensible road, and with white you take your chances. Anyway, the white roads that took us East through the mountains were excellent, and no problem at all.
The scenery was truly spectacular as huge cliffs rose from the river below, to make the whole day’s driving very rewarding. Even the main roads that brought us to tonight’s final resting place in the famed Rioja region, were set amongst a dramatic mountain backdrop, with lovely hilltop towns.
Tonight we are returning to one of the latter, at San Vincente de la Sonsierra, where we stayed at their aire exactly a year and two weeks ago. It was a memorable night last year as we met a lovely couple called Pam and Andy, built a large fire in the official barbecue spot opposite, drank a few bottles of Rioja, and generally put the world to rights. I’m anticipating a quieter night tonight 😉
*** Just to mention that our blogs can be up to a few weeks behind reality, as we’re always in catch-up mode ***